San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just What Is Congress Doing?

Most people are probably aware that Congress is now one of the least popular institutions in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  According to various polls over the past couple of years the approval rating for Congress has dropped to as low as 17%.  That percentage is a historic low and indicates just how much the citizens of this legalistic land are disgusted by the people they have elected to make new laws to attempt to control the behavior of their neighbors.  Congress, as you also know, only exists to do one thing and that is to make new laws. Every time Congress passes a new law that law is passed on to the federal bureaucracy and hundreds, sometimes thousands, of new rules are enacted to interpret and specify procedures for enforcement of the new law.  The government loving citizens of the SDA want something other than a do nothing Congress.  Apparently they want a Congress that enacts thousands of laws per year, thus potentially creating hundreds of thousands of new rules for us all to follow every year.  The more laws Congress passes the less freedom we all have but that does not keep the state worshiping citizens of this land from wanting more of them. 
I suspect most people are not actually aware of the great body of new legislation that is passed each year.  I went to this website to find out just what a "do nothing" Congress actually did for just one congressional session.  The 113th Congress of the USA passed a near record low 296 new laws in FY 2014.  I would like to take some time today to show you just how crucial, vital and important those new laws were.  Frankly, I do not know how we survived as a country prior to the 113th Congress.  I can't conceive of a country without the body of law passed that year guiding us and keeping us safe from harm.  You might want to click though to the website mentioned above to see just how ridiculous Congress has become.  Here, in no particular order and with no particular agenda on my part, are a handful of the 296 new laws created by Congress in FY 2014.  In each case I list the name of the new law, a summary of what the law does and, in parenthesis, any comments I might have about it.
  • Collectible Coin Protection Act:  Amends the Hobby Protection Act to make it a violation of such Act for a person to provide substantial assistance or support to any manufacturer, importer, or seller if that person knows or should have known that such manufacturer, importer, or seller has engaged in any act or practice that violates requirements for plainly identifying imitation political items or imitation coins and other numismatic items. (The Hobby Protection Act was clearly an inferior law in serious need of amendment.  I am so thankful this law was passed.  I can't begin to tell  you how many imitation coins I have purchased in my life but now, thanks to this law, that will never happen again.)
  • Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act:  Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue and report on activities related to stillbirth, sudden unexpected infant death, and sudden unexplained death in childhood, including collaborating with states and experts to improve the quality and consistency of data collected after one of these deaths.  (As if the death of a child is not traumatic enough, now agents from the federal government sweep down upon the grieving parents and grill them with questions designed to increase their feelings of guilty over the death of their child.  A simple question....why are stillbirths and SIDs any business of the federal government?)
  • Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act:  Grants the Secretary of the Interior permanent authority to authorize any state to issue electronic duck stamps.  Sets forth state electronic duck stamp application requirements. Allows the Secretary to determine the number of new states permitted per year to participate in the electronic duck stamp program.  Instructs the Secretary to require electronic stamp revenue and customer information collected by each state to be transmitted in accordance with a written agreement between the Secretary and the state.  (How did we survive without this crucial law?  Just knowing that the State of Colorado now has federal authority to issue electronic duck stamps allows me to sleep easier at night.  On the other hand, knowing that my personal duck stamp information is being sent to the feds make me sleep less easy at night.   The net result is I now sleep exactly the same way I did before the act.)
  • Propane Education and Research Enhancement Act:   Amends the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 to direct the Propane Education and Research Council to develop for propane distributors and consumers training programs on strategies to mitigate negative effects of future propane price spikes. (Honestly, I get so confused when I go down to the local store to fill up my propane bottle.  Sometimes it cost he $10 and other times it costs me $9.  Now, thanks to this new law, I have an education resource that can help me with my confusion.  I hope they will provide counselors for me as well since those price spikes cause me great emotional disturbance.)
  • Smart Savings Act:   Makes the default investment in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) an age-appropriate target date asset allocation investment fund (L Fund), instead of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund), if no election has been made for the investment of available funds. Retains the Government Securities Investment Fund as the default fund for members of the Uniformed Services (This tells me all I need to know about how Congress views military personnel.  They amend the federal government's retirement program to require a target date fund, utilizing some performance enhancing stocks in the portfolio, as the default investment selection whereas military personnel are still stuck with a performance killing government bond fund.  Apparently soldiers can risk their lives expanding the SDA empire but they are too stupid to risk their money in the stock market.)
  • Honor Flight Act:   Directs the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to establish a process for providing expedited and dignified passenger screening services for veterans traveling on an Honor Flight Network private charter, or another not-for-profit organization that honors veterans, to visit war memorials built and dedicated to honor their service. (This new law says a lot about how our rulers view both us and the military.  After insulting the members of the military with the Smart Savings Act, they throw them a bone by requiring profit seeking airlines to do something to honor them when they fly to visit war memorials built in their honor.  What, precisely, the airlines are expected to do is no doubt contained in the myriad rules created by the TSA to enforce this new law. This new law is also a tacit admission that passenger screening services suffered by civilians like you and me are undignified.  Apparently if you wear your uniform to the TSA screening area you can get through without being groped, an indignity suffered by us mere mortals.  Good for them.) 
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act:  A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize certain programs relating to traumatic brain injury and to trauma research. (I became familiar with the federal government's incursion into brain injury research when I received my first traffic ticket last year.  Included in my huge fine was a fee for brain injury research.  Thanks to this law I know that I will be forced to pay that fee again, should I ever run afoul of the law in the future.)
  • Examination and Supervisory Privilege Parity Act:  Amends the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, with respect to the supervision of nondepository covered persons, to include state agencies that licence, supervise, or examine the offering of consumer financial products or services among the regulatory agencies with which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is required to coordinate its supervisory activities. Declares that the sharing of information with such regulators, authorities, and agencies shall not be construed as waiving, destroying, or otherwise affecting any privilege or confidentiality claimed by nondepository covered persons under federal or state law regarding such information as to any person or entity other than the CFPB, agency, supervisor, or authority.  (Did you get all of that?  Neither did I.  This bill was sponsored by Ed Perlmutter, a Representative from Colorado.  I think Ed is a lawyer, don't you?  The only thing I could glean from the legalese written above is that it is now the law that various government agencies can share private information about the citizens of this land with impunity.  Hummm.....I wonder why Apple and Microsoft are so reticent to give the feds their code?)
  • United States Anti-Doping Agency Reauthorization Act:  Amends the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 to:
    • (1) authorize appropriations for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for FY2014-FY2020,
    • (2) require that the Agency be recognized worldwide as the independent national anti-doping organization for the United States, and
    • (3) replace the Agency's role in preventing the use by U.S. amateur athletes of performance-enhancing genetic modifications accomplished through gene doping with a role in preventing the use of prohibited performance-enhancing methods adopted by the Agency.
    • (Why is it the business of the federal government of the SDA to be spending tax dollars to police the behavior of amateur athletes who might make the decision to use performance enhancing drugs?  Does anybody know where the authority to do this is found in the Constitution?) 
Enough!  I can hear you screaming at me.  Enough!  I did not cherry-pick the laws listed above.  They are really representative of the sorts of things Congress does every single day.  There were dozens of laws dedicated to nothing more than naming government buildings around the country after fellow career politicians.   What a bunch of self-glorifying people our rulers are.  And don't forget, we the taxpayers are paying the bill for all of these essential services and new laws. 
I have really only one question for Congress.  Why do we need you?  The things you do are either harmful or meaningless. The great majority  of the laws are meaningless and only add to the size of the federal bureaucracy.  The handful of bills that are meaningful, like sanctions against Russia, Syria and Iran, are harmful and dangerous.  Wouldn't we all be much better off if Congress were simply permanently dissolved.  If elected I promise to sponsor a bill to permanently dissolve Congress.  Will you vote for me?

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